A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 15, 2019
Utica: Handshake City (nickname)

The city of Utica, New York, was promoted as the “Handshake City” by the Utica Chamber of Commerce in November 1970. The city wanted to show the world its friendliness. In 1974, a person broke the world handshake record in the “Handshake City.”

The “Handshake City” nickname was only infrequently used after the 1970s. A container park in the Bagg’s Square area of Utica was called “Handshake City” in August 2018.


Wikipedia: Utica, New York
Utica (/ˈjuːtɪkə/ (About this soundlisten)) is a city in the Mohawk Valley and the county seat of Oneida County, New York, United States. The tenth-most-populous city in New York, its population was 62,235 in the 2010 U.S. census. Located on the Mohawk River at the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, Utica is approximately 95 miles (153 kilometers) northwest of Albany, 55 mi (89 km) east of Syracuse and 240 miles (386 kilometers) northwest of New York City . Utica and the nearby city of Rome anchor the Utica–Rome Metropolitan Statistical Area, which comprises all of Oneida and Herkimer counties.
(...)
Nickname(s): The Handshake City, Sin City, The City that God Forgot, Elm Tree City

3 November 1970, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), “1,000 Uticans ‘Come to Grips” With Friendliness,” pg. 6, col. 6:
UTICA (AP)—More than 1,000 residents of this Mohawk Valley city Monday stood in a roped-off sectiuon of the business district—and shook hands.

The handshaking and friendliness was part of a promotion in an effort to make Utica the “Handshake City” by the Greater Utica Chamber of Commerce.

3 November 1970, Oneonta (NY) Star, pg. 2, col. 4 photo captions:
‘Handshake City, U.S.A.’
More than 1,000 citizens of Utica gathered at that city’s Busy Corner (corner of Genesee and Bleeker streets) yesterday to shake hands. Local dignitaries led the quiet demonstration designed to symbolize the city’s spirit of friendliness.
(AP wirephoto)

27 July 1972, Courier-Post (Camden, NJ), “Both in ‘Handshake City’: Tiny Tim, Vicki Tiptoeing On Marriage Road Again” by Mike Protts (Gannett News Service), pg. 1, cols. 3-4:
UTICA, N. Y.— Singer Tiny Tim came tiptoeing into Utica yesterday with a surprise traveling companion—his wife, Miss Vicki.
(...)
Utica is an appropriate place for the couple’s public reconciliation as it is known as the Handshake City.

NYS Historic Newspapers
27 December 1974, The Journal (Ogdensburg, NY), “News Shorts,” pg. 6, col. 6:
UTICA, N. Y. (AP)—Preston Stockman, an aspiring singer from New York City, spent 12 hours in the “handshake city” Monday, breaking the world handshaking record. (...) A Chamber of Commerce campaign dubbed the city the handshake city several years ago.

OCLC WorldCat record
Utica
Author: Joseph P Bottini; James L Davis
Publisher: Charleston, S.C. : Arcadia Pub., ©2007.
Series: Then & now (Arcadia Publishing)
Edition/Format: Print book : English
Contents:
Preserved treasures at “New York’s Crossroads” --
Public sanctuaries at “Sincerity City” --
Public buildings in the “Handshake City” --

Twitter
natalieangela
@nsmitty1990
At the bar googling w/ guests Utica on Wikipedia and we have a nickname according to the site. “handshake city” Do you agree? @MadeInUtica
1:46 PM - 30 Oct 2014

Steve Coupe
@stevecoupeny
30 Oct 2014
Replying to @nsmitty1990
@nsmitty1990 @MadeInUtica Haven’t heard that term used in years. It was a 70s PR campaign that tried to shake the old “sin city” nickname.

natalieangela
@nsmitty1990
30 Oct 2014
@stevecoupeny @MadeInUtica so interesting. I enjoyed the “second chance city”

NYup.com (March 2017)
What’s in a name? 14 cool nicknames for Upstate New York towns, cities
By Chuck D’Imperio
(...)
Utica: “The Handshake City”
This broad-shouldered city has had so many nicknames over the years that they all wouldn’t fit on a “Welcome to Utica Sign.” Known for taking in immigrants and refugees, the city has always said they were “proud to welcome them with a handshake.” Other nicknames for Utica have included Sin City, City of Immigrants, Gateway to the Adirondacks, Elm Tree City, The City That God Forgot, Renaissance City, City of Possibilities and Gateway to the North Woods.

Observer-Dispatch (Utica, NY)
Is Handshake.City Utica’s new ‘cultural hub’?
By Greg Mason /
Posted Aug 24, 2018 at 5:00 AM
UTICA — Justin Parkinson says he has seen plenty of drivers rubberneck for a look at what’s going on in the Bagg’s Square area of Utica.

They have specifically scoped out the Whitesboro Street area where Parkinson and others with community group Made In Utica have worked with more than a few dozen volunteers to transform a once-vacant lot into an urban container park.

Dubbed Handshake.City, the park will be launched Saturday as part of Made In Utica’s annual Downtown Getdown event.

Spectrum News (Central NY)
What’s the Future of a Container Park in Utica?
By Spectrum News Staff
PUBLISHED February 13, 2019 @9:24 PM
The future of a container park known as Handshake City in downtown Utica is uncertain.

The city’s Urban Renewal Agency Commissioner says the lease won’t be renewed because there are other plans for the site. Brian Thomas says the City is working to get funding for a new parking lot there.

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesNew York State • Friday, March 15, 2019 • Permalink